Pressing Issues: Are club bosses to blame for bad reffing?

2013-04-14 14:00

Bad refereeing has reared its ugly head yet again.

One incident last week saw an irate fan storm onto the Moses Mabhida Stadium pitch and assault referee Lwandile Mfiki.

In another, National First Division (NFD) club Dynamos boss Pat Malabela told stunned Metro FM 083 Sports@6 with Robert Marawa listeners the reason he had stomped onto the pitch and ordered his players off the field was that a “dubious” penalty was awarded and scored by Polokwane City on Wednesday.

Dynamos are propping up the NFD table and there have been talks it has been “targeted” and, as a result, has been at the receiving end of dubious decisions.

Malabela was followed by former Orlando Pirates striker Jerry “Legs of Thunder” Sikhosana, who announced he had resigned as Atlie FC coach after being told the club would never win while he was at the helm because “he knows too much” – whatever that means.

He ended by declaring that soccer was corrupt.

And the usual claim is that referees are corrupt.

The question, which is usually avoided, is: who corrupts the referees?

I think if there is one finger that is pointing at the referees, the other four are pointing at the same club bosses who are now crying foul.

They know exactly what is happening here and they are the ones who can put an end to this scourge gnawing at our football.

Referees do not own clubs and should have no interest in which club wins or loses, as their duty is to apply the laws of the game as they are written.

But what does make a referee become an interested party in the result of a match is the culture of “looking after” them.

So, at the end of the day, it is not a matter of which is the better club, but which club boss is “looking after” match officials.

And club owners know well who among them is doing this.

When the board of governors – the body consisting of the 16 Absa Premiership and the same number of NFD clubs was formed – the main reason was that they wanted to “control” their own business affairs.

So they should stand up and take control.

Club bosses need to be honest and first sort out this culture of “taking care of” or “looking after” referees.

The next step would be to set stringent rules and sanctions to deal with match officials who commit cardinal sins.

It is easy to spot when match officials make honest mistakes, and it’s quite obvious when this is an orchestrated pattern.

Can you imagine if the referee’s assistant who disallowed a legitimate Kaizer Chiefs goal last week, or the referee whom Malabela claims gave a penalty for an infringement that was way out of the penalty area, were dealt with in such a way that they never officiated again?

This would cut their source of income and, in future, other officials would think twice before committing the same “mistakes”.

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